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Where do U.S. military working dogs come from?

If you’ve seen photos of troops accompanied by military working dogs on post or on deployment, you may have wondered how the dogs are selected and trained.

The military career of most of these canines starts with the Military Working Dog Buying Program. These dogs are purchased in European kennels.  Others are raised at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The dogs are placed with foster families for the first couple years of their lives, and then put into a four-month training program.

The military dog handlers, often law enforcement personnel such as Military Police and Air Force Security Forces, also receive specialized training. And although you can often see the dogs assisting with policing efforts on military installations, make no mistake — their role downrange in the deployed environment is crucial:

“When we do convoys, canines lead,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Paul Little, a 27th SOSFS dog handler. “When we’re downrange, dog teams lead the way. It’s one of the most vital components to any mission they’re involved in.”

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